Originally posted on Facebook HERE

It’s the first day of my second week in Florida working on my next book. Man, that first week just BLEW by. Before you know it, I’ll be back in Wisconsin, where I’m quite OK missing the “second winter” they seem to be having there right now. I expect to bring the sun back with me, though. I’ll tell you one thing – you want to learn to appreciate what you have? Rent a house in the middle of nowhere, not near any friends or family, with no TV, no dog, no guitars, and no stereo. Just total peace and quiet, except for your thoughts. And at some point, maybe around the first day of the second week, you’ll start to really appreciate the things waiting for you back home that you can’t access from here. I grew up an only child, I love being by myself, but man – I miss having more human interaction than “how can we help you”, and “thank you drive through”. I realized it last year, too – after a couple days I started making sure I went out and either hit up the local cafe (it’s a laid back, talkative atmosphere there), or the local guys who work for the same company I do, or the rock shop (plenty of human interaction there as well), or get a massage, yoga or acupuncture. I met some awesome people last year, and I’m seeing many of them again this year. But my wife had the grandkids over for malts, popcorn and a movie last night. One of our favorite things to do. I couldn’t be there. The grandkids did get a kick out of our phone conversation when I told them the closest I could get to malts and popcorn was organic crackers, refried beans and almond milk with Nestle’s Quik. It was sad hanging up, and not being there with them. I’m super grateful I even get to do things like this – take three weeks off from work, go to Florida by myself, write… don’t get me wrong. It’s a great time to take a long, hard look at everything in my life. The writing is going well. I love this area, the place I’m staying is fantastic… and every time I do this I think I come back a better person than when I left. One of the reasons is a new appreciation for what I already have in my life. Too often we look everywhere else for the happiness that is right there in our lives already if we’d just realize it. I try to take nothing for granted, but a trip like this really hammers it home. People are important. Human interaction, as frustrating as it can be at times – what good are experiences without having people to share them with? Which is why I still love the idea of having lunch with someone different every week. I tried it once and didn’t stick with it – 52 lunches in 52 weeks. At the end of one year you’d know more about 52 people than you did before you started. And if you’re like us, you have those friends where you keep saying, “we should get together and do something”, etc – then you never do. Maybe that’s another thing to pull off the “someday” shelf and will into action. Like “We WILL get together with the Smiths this month for dinner and a movie”, then making it so. We get one shot at life. Really we’re just a blip on the timeline of humanity. Shouldn’t we spend as much time together as possible? If you don’t think so, let me know – I’ve got an awesome treehouse in Florida for you to rent for a couple weeks until you figure it out 🙂

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